December 14, 2013
CHANGE PHILOSOPHY Change within organizations is inevitable. Whether in reaction to external forces such as market conditions or competition or in reaction to internal dynamics – such as staff turnover – organization leaders will always find themselves under a constant barrage of change. It’s how successful they are able in managing the change and how effective they are at using innovation as part of that process which will ultimately determine their fate. Therefore, the key for organizations in dealing with change and innovation is implementing effective change management strategies. In my new job as CEO at IAU College, I will expect management to consistently challenge the status quo and be proactive in dealing with change, not reactive to it. Russell & Russell (2006) put it this way, “The key challenges for an organizational manager or leader involve getting out in front of these changes, not being surprised when they occur, becoming a change agent or catalyst when necessary, and helping others move of their own free will to engage the changes directly’’ (p. 5). In addition, our leaders must be mindful of not resting on their successes. This is when organizations become most vulnerable. Constantly integrating innovation as part of the change management plan – regardless of the company’s successes – plays a critical role in this process and can help stave off latency. As Russell & Russell (2006) point out, “One of the reasons that some people fail as leaders is that their past and present success blinds them to their vulnerabilities and renders them all but incapable of sustaining the success that they are (for now) enjoying” (p. 7). We will not fail as leaders of this institution. By acting as change agents, management can address the culture of complacency and satisfaction and replace it with one of objective self-evaluation and of embracing change as an ally. In doing so, and infusing innovation as part of the process, IAU will be better prepared for the various challenges which lie ahead.
In order for change management to succeed, a plan must be created and then executed. The comprehensive plan, which is summarized in Figured 1-B, includes a series of actions which include:
Identifying the right change leader - Effective change management must start at the top. Our first order of business at IAU will be the hiring of a CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) who will lead our change and innovation efforts. The CSO will likely be an internal hire, born out of an organic rise within IAU due to their institutional knowledge and experience. Their skill set is diverse; those who are successful at it are: trusted by their CEO, masters at multitasking, jacks of all trades, star players, doers, influential, comfortable with ambiguity and objective (Breene, Nunes & Schill, 2007). In short, they are the best for the job because of their varied backgrounds, institutional memory, experience and skillset. They are the ones most apt to lead the efforts and drive organizations to successful change management execution. The candidate search, interview process and ultimate hiring of the CSO should unfold immediately.
Creating a Change Management Plan – Once the CSO is hired, the planning stage should commence immediately. Without good planning, the execution stage with never be reached or will fail. According to Franken et al., (2009), “Research suggests that some organizations realize only 60 per cent of the potential value of their strategies due to inadequacies in planning and implementation (pp. 49-50). Therefore, it is critical for our CSO to lead thorough efforts in this planning stage for change management as it is a complex series of ideas, actions and relationship management with close ties to the probability of successful strategy execution. The key steps to planning are